When I was a young boy in school, I didn’t have a clue why I stuttered. Everyone around me had no problem. They said whatever they wanted – anytime, anywhere.
My two sisters were on the phone for hours. I listened to them and hated that I was afraid to even ANSWER the phone.
When I did try to call up one of my friends, their mom would pick up and wait – and wait and wait. Finally, I heard, “Is that you out there, Mark?”
Of course, I was afraid to talk to any of the girls in class. I tried one time to ask Anne if I could walk her home. I just stood there with my mouth open and my face turning red.
I hated my stuttering and I didn’t know why I stuttered and EVERYONE ELSE had no problem talking. No one else stuttered – I thought I was the only one. And I even thought I might be from another planet, like superman, but with a curse, not superpowers.
This shame and embarrassment went on all the way through high school, college and into my first job. So I became a speech pathologist just to try to find the answer to my own problem and fix it myself.
I did learn why I stuttered
I was one of 1 percent of people who had been born with this disorder. When I found self-help groups of others who stuttered, I knew that I was not alone – but I still hated my stuttering.
One day I discovered a clinic that had an intensive treatment program that really worked. This fluency shaping program had only been developed recently and I was one of the first to benefit from it. After one week of intensive therapy, I was finally able to talk without stuttering!
Now, I help others like myself who stutter. They come to me from all over the world to get help. I am privileged to help others avoid the pain that I went through for years. I can’t tell you what parts of the brain explain why I stuttered for many years, but I can show others who have it how to learn to talk without it.